Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Garden Activities and Confetti Quinoa Recipe

It is now the first week in December, and the "Little Tomato That Could" is still going strong. Lows are supposed to be in the 40s and 50s this week, so I have high hopes that it will survive for the next few days. I picked a pepper off of my "Corno del Toro" pepper plant to use in a salad today, too. It was small, but tasty. I am receiving gardening catalogs in the mail and continuing to dream about what I most want to grow. I've looked into growing celery, but I am not sure how easy that is to do in Zone 7. Celery has a long growing season, dislikes hot weather, and needs cool weather, but not too cold or it will bolt. If I try it at all, it will be in the fall.

I joined an online food co-op that features local foods from Virginia, .  Reasons to join are similar to reasons to shop at farmers' markets: for more information. I've ordered fresh Virginia apples, kale, butternut squash. I also ordered two kinds of sweet potato: "Beauregard," which is the kind most commonly served in supermarkets, and "Hayman," a white sweet potato you won't find in supermarkets because it is "an heirloom white sweet potato reputed to be the sweetest of all varieties. But with a dirt-ugly appearance, short shelf life and low crop yield, it's rarely planted these days" ( 

I am planning to make a vegan lasagna with the kale. I'm not sure what I'll do with the other ingredients yet. Today I made a black bean/quinoa salad with that pepper mentioned above plus other ingredients. Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup quinoa (or: 1 rice cup measure)

1 red onion, minced
1 small carrot, sliced very thing
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 small corno del toro or 1/4 green sweet pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon sunflower oil

3 tablespoons coarsely-chopped garlic scapes
1 cup frozen corn
fresh thyme leaves from two sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry white wine

1.5 cups cooked black beans
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
white pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa like you would white rice in a rice cooker or follow package directions. In the meantime, heat the sunflower oil in a cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion, carrot, green pepper, and garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes until the onion looks tender. Stir in the garlic scapes, corn, thyme, parsley, and wine, and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes more. Remove from heat. When the quinoa is done, mix it with the onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve warm. Leftovers can be refrigerated and served warm or cold. 

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